News Column

Customs Program Will Grow Fla. Economy: Diaz-Balart

December 20, 2013

Staff Reports --

mario diaz-balart
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. (file photo)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said he was pleased to help launch the Reimbursable Services Program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service at Miami International Airport.

Mr. Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican and a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, said the measure is an innovative one that will help grow South Florida's economy.

"The quicker we can get our international travelers through passport control, the quicker they can get to our hotels, eat at our restaurants, see our attractions, and help pump money and jobs into our local economy," the congressman said in a statement.

He said that he and a bipartisan group of colleagues in the House have been working to alleviate a "dire" need for staff at the airport.

"Miami International Airport has a serious understaffing problem, and the airport's participation in this pilot program will be a step towards helping to fix that," he said.

The Reimbursable Services Program was authorized as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, which passed Congress in March.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., along with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla., Federica Wilson, D-Fla., Joe Garcia, D-Fla., and Mr. Diaz-Balart sent a letter (PDF) to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in May supporting Miami-Dade County's request to participate in this program.

"More than one million jobs in Florida rely on international trade and commerce," they wrote in the letter.

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